Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/40

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conviction that no objects exist, but only my relation to them. There were moments when, under the influence of this fixed idea, I had reached such a degree of absurdity that I sometimes turned abruptly to the other side in the hope of catching a glimpse of the void."

Developing irregularly, but rapidly, Leo Tolstoy reached adolescence and entered the University of Kazan. His three elder brothers were already there. He first chose the faculty of Eastern Languages, but not passing his examination at the end of the first year, he went over to that of Law. Here things went a little better, but nevertheless, towards the close of the second year, his zeal had considerably cooled. His studies were carried on irregularly. His ardent, passionate and independent nature could not adapt itself to the routine of the instruction given at that time.

On the other hand, the social life of his guardian, Yushkoff, who occupied a prominent position in the highest society circles of Kazan, attracted him to worldly pleasures. Balls, theatres, visits, etc., filled his winter hours, effectually hindering his studies. Besides, being a young man inclined to independent intellectual work, once absorbed in some subject he neglected every other. All this certainly did not tend towards success in his